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Earlier this year, TBE delivered the Metso LT300HP and two Metso ST4.8 units to Lismore City Council’s Blakebrook Quarry.
Earlier this year, TBE delivered the Metso LT300HP and two Metso ST4.8 units to Lismore City Council’s Blakebrook Quarry.

Council seeks innovative approach to production

A regional council-owned quarry in northern New South Wales has successfully downsized its crushing fleet without any interruption to its production output.

The Lismore City Council (LCC) is a progressive, innovative organisation in the heart of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Employing about 300 staff, the council provides services to more than 46,000 residents and manages a budget of about $100 million per annum.

Lismore is the commercial and cultural hub of the region. LCC provides many of the region’s major services and operates its own quarry and asphalt business to support the council’s construction program and external materials supply to the local area.

It produces RMS quality asphalt to supply local contractors for use on roads in the area. The business is certified to International Standards ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and Australian Standard AS4801, and it comprises a 600,000 tonnes per annum extraction consent, an asphalt plant of a 170 tonnes per hour capacity, a three-bin pugmill with stabilisation capability and two NATA certified laboratories (one for quarry and one for asphalt).

In February 2015 LCC released a public tender looking for proposals for the purchase/lease and five-year fixed service contract of a pre-scalper, cone crusher and two triple-deck screens to assist with improving the production and quality of aggregates from the Blakebrook Quarry.

LCC’s operational staff had sufficient foresight to understand that to meet the impending increased demand for high quality aggregates, a step change was required to improve the efficiency of their operation and reduce their ongoing production costs.

Championed by Blakebrook Quarry’s commercial services manager Phil Klepzig and operations manager Kurt Bezjak, and supported by a team of progressive councillors, LCC’s vision was quite clear. The solution they sought would:

  1. Be considered best practice within the industry.
  2. Promote a reliable, efficient, effective and “best value for money” service for the council.
  3. Encourage costs savings.

Bezjak and his quarry manager James Livingstone were initially impressed with the safety functionality built into the equipment design and the obvious benefits of the tried and tested Metso HP cone, which continues to yield great results.

LCC’s operational staff were also impressed by the technical presentations, the detailed processing simulations and equipment inspections provided by Tutt Bryant Equipment (TBE) technical staff, supported by Metso.

Interest was also heightened by the potential integration of equipment in the circuit by the Intelligent Controller (IC) system. This connection between the machines allows them to talk to one another and balance the production across the entire train.

For example, if one unit becomes overloaded, it requests the upstream units to slow down slightly, so it can catch up. The upstream units’ engines slow until balance is restored and then throttle back up. This management of the engines ensures each is not running at high revs without load, which reduces engine wear, extending engine life and saving fuel.

Metso’s LT300HP includes provision for a TK feeder, which performs the pre-scalping function, negating the need for a dedicated pre-scalper machine entirely.

“We were quite surprised at how competitively priced the Metso equipment was at the tender,” Bezjak said.

“The service contracts also provided very good value for council. Coupled with extended warranty, it was a strong proposal.”

Bezjak had previous exposure to Metso equipment while working for Boral, so he was familiar with the build quality. Several equipment suppliers provided submissions, but TBE’s offer of an LT300HP cone crusher and two ST4.8 triple-deck screens was deemed to provide the best “whole of life” value to LCC.

The LT300HP’s fuel usage – at 38 litres per hour in a hard basalt environment - has greatly impressed the LCC.
The LT300HP’s fuel usage – at 38 litres per hour in a hard basalt environment - has greatly impressed the LCC.


In early January 2016 TBE delivered the Metso LT300HP and two Metso ST4.8 units to Blakebrook Quarry and spent the majority of a week on-site establishing and running in the three units, and integrating them into the council’s existing equipment.

The commissioning process was completed in conjunction with the LCC quarry team and included three days of on-site training of quarry operators and maintenance staff, to ensure all necessary pre-start checks and monitoring information was transferred to the new owners.

The entire plant optimisation process was carried out jointly, with LCC and TBE staff ensuring the council’s other non-Metso equipment was included in the refinement of the entire configuration. This equipment included a primary jaw, vertical shaft impactor (VSI) and scalping screen.

TBE has offered to develop an electrical relay with the VSI so it can respond to stop/start instructions from the Metso IC units on the new equipment. Varying screen meshes were trialled during the commissioning process, down to the changing of screen mesh in multiple increments of 0.5mm to provide the specified materials.

By replacing the existing equipment with the Metso LT300HP and ST4.8s, the Blakebrook Quarry has essentially downsized its crushing fleet in equipment size, not numbers of units, while maintaining production output.

Bezjak suggested that despite this, the unit rate production costs have been reduced, particularly in regard to fuel usage, which was significant. “The real advantage is the availability,” he said. “I reckon we have 90 per cent availability with this gear, which is excellent for mobile equipment.”

The product yields have improved to reflect market movement towards clean, shaped asphalt and concrete aggregates rather than “all in” roadbase products. This has also brought a reduction in the production of crusher dust, and the sought after 10mm aggregate can now be produced in greater volumes than before. The provision for the LT300HP’s side conveyor will allow greater operational flexibility in product scalping, but will also enable the load to be reduced on the normally fuel hungry VSI crusher, providing fuel savings to other machines in the circuit.

Two ST4.8 triple-deck screens offered the best “whole of life” value to the LCC.
Two ST4.8 triple-deck screens offered the best “whole of life” value to the LCC.

The LT300HP’s fuel usage is impressive enough in its own right, at a surprising 38 litres per hour in a hard basalt.

Subsequent to field training, process training was carried out with Bezjak and Livingstone to ensure the new assets were fine-tuned to achieve the customer’s desired outcome.

TBE’s Metso product manager Tom Hovatta spent a few days training Bezjak and Livingstone on Metso’s Bruno software.

Bruno has been developed from decades of gathering real crushing and screening data from sites, and it allows Bezjak to simulate any changes to Blakebrook’s actual production process, to optimise its production and/or yield of target products. Bezjak can manipulate numerous parameters and settings in pursuit of the most cost-effective production run, before making any physical changes in the quarry.

He has even gone on to extend the utilisation of Bruno to simulate an additional bypass arrangement within the side conveyor hopper, to further expand the range of products available.

TBE’s fixed price servicing covers all aspects of scheduled servicing of the equipment, including all consumables, parts and labour for five years or 10,000 hours.

TBE’s Metso technician Jason Lawson has been working closely with the LCC quarry team to ensure services are completed efficiently and at a time that suits LCC’s production schedule. While the LCC team is self-sufficient for potential breakdowns, what Lawson can’t fix over the phone is rectified when he is there the next day. TBE’s Brisbane branch continues to support LCC with a regular supply of manganese wear components and parts as required.

LCC’s decision to choose Metso equipment was not only innovative but brave. Several alternative equipment suppliers offered equipment that would perform the function at a perceived lower purchase cost, but LCC choose a longer serviceable life and lower production costs.

LCC will continue to benefit from the decision when this Metso equipment is still going strong well after its 10,000-hour service period. Metso’s confidence is such that it can now offer a 10,000-hour warranty on its Lokotracks through its Australian distributor, Tutt Bryant Equipment. 

Source: Tutt Bryant Equipment

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Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 8:56am
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